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Trouble brewing: Chelsea Starbucks workers strike over ‘unsanitary conditions’

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Alex Haul shows a photo of what he says is a mold.
Photo by Dean Moses

Employees of Chelsea Starbucks went on strike Tuesday over alleged unsanitary working conditions that the coffee chain denies.

Workers at the flagship coffeehouse location on 61 9th Ave. levied weighty accusations against the chain giant, charging that the location had contaminated food and pest infestations.

“There is mold in the ice, there are fruit flies in the food, there’s been countless bedbugs in the break room–could be an infestation. There’s a lot with plumbing, sometimes the sink leaks and it gets all over the main bar where we work. There’s just a lot going on between management and employees. Lots of unfair treatment, lots of disrespect. It’s degrading, dehumanizing, and we want change,” Alex Haul told amNewYork Metro.

Employees of Chelsea Starbucks went on strike Tuesday. Photo by Dean Moses
Employees of Chelsea Starbucks went on strike Tuesday. Photo by Dean Moses

The workers picketed the storefront, attempting to dissuade customers from entering the premises by listing their grievances, including the alleged bug infestation.

A spokesperson for Starbucks refuted the claims, stating that when they were made aware of a potential pest issue, pest control services were brought in to inspect the location.

“The health and safety of our partners and our customers is our number one priority,” the spokesperson told amNewYork Metro. “Yesterday, the provider visited the Roastery location and found no infestation or insect activity. The pest control service gave the location the all-clear to re-open this morning.”

But Haul disregarded the denial, showing images on his cellphone that he says is black mold on a icecube found within the store. Along with his fellow workers, Haul is asking for changes to be made.

“Obviously we’ve been noticing it and it’s just way too much. This place definitely needs to get their stuff together, fumigate and just handle it,” Haul said. “We’re asking for health and safety protocols. We’re asking for a shutdown. So, they can fumigate. Get some guys in and check everything out.”

Employees of Chelsea Starbucks went on strike Tuesday. Photo by Dean Moses

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